Culture Days: A Culture Free For All
In Saskatchewan, the idea for a “culture week” or similar awareness campaign had been discussed for a number of years. When national leaders decided to initiate Culture Days, following on the successful 13-year history of Journee’s de la culture in Quebec, all other provinces, including Saskatchewan, were eager to jump on board. The new idea of Culture Days includes all areas of culture: arts, heritage, multicultural, ethno-cultural, First Nations and Métis culture, and creative industries.
According to SaskCulture General Manager and Chairperson for Culture Days in Saskatchewan Rose Gilks, “Saskatchewan has a very vibrant and diverse culture, and a thriving arts and cultural community. Culture Days provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the many different cultural opportunities available in the province.” Cultural organizations were called upon to host Culture Days activities, whether newly-designed or just modifications of what they currently offered in September to provide free, interactive cultural experiences designed to engage the public.
As part of the Culture Days launch, the province of Saskatchewan proclaimed the week of September 20-26, 2010 as Culture Week in Saskatchewan. Several other communities, including Kindersley, Weyburn, Saskatoon and Regina, followed suit.
Shortly after Culture Days was announced, cultural groups began registering free, interactive cultural activities that would be held during the week, and weekend. Several partners emerged to help support the promotion and engagement, including CBC Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Arts Board and The Leader Post.
Thanks to a Community Initiative Fund grant, multidisciplinary artist Laura Hale was hired as the first Culture Days Animateur. She was able to travel over 12 Saskatchewan communities as part of Saskatchewan’s Culture Days Mobile Tour leading up to the Culture Days celebration.
“There are many ways people can get creative in this province,” explains Laura Hale, Culture Days Animateur. “I can see from my visits in communities so far that Culture Days has people intrigued. They are looking for ways to get involved.” During her visits, Hale spoke with cultural leaders about Culture Days, and offered free interactive workshops at different events and venues.
Gilks notes that “Culture Days is an opportunity to remind people how valuable culture is to their lives.” While Culture Days lasts only three days, the opportunities for participating in cultural activity are available all year long. Thanks to Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation, SaskCulture is able to help support the ideas such as Culture Days and work with over 140 member organizations that offer cultural activities to the people of Saskatchewan.